June 07, 2020
Steve Buscemi and his late wife, Jo Andres, were together for 32 years until the day of her death in January 2019. She was also an artist and endured a long battle with cancer.
Steve Buscemi has been in the entertainment industry for over three decades, and he has brought to life some iconic characters in films like “Reservoir Dogs,” “Fargo,” “Ghost World,” and “The Big Lebowski.”
He also appeared in series like “The Sopranos,” “30 Rock,” and “Boardwalk Empire,” and made his directorial debut in 1996 with “Trees Lounge.”
Through it all, Buscemi was not alone. He had his lovely wife, Jo Andres, by his side. They were together until January 2019, when she lost a four-year battle to cancer.
MEET JO ANDRES
Jo Andres was a visual artist, filmmaker, and choreographer who became famous thanks to her experimental choreography that mixed modern dance and performance art in the late ’80s.
For Buscemi, seeing his wife in pain was the hardest part of the situation.
She used film to project dreamlike images onto dancers and some wispy tulles they used as props during their performances at clubs in downtown New York.
By the early ’90s, Andres had moved on to films. She made her debut as a director with the 1996 film “Black Kites,” for which she received critical acclaim in several film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, and London.
She also collaborated with Buscemi in the 1992 short film, “What Happened to Pete.” He was the writer and director, and she edited it.
Andres also directed music and art videos and created a collection of cyanotypes that were exhibited in galleries around New York.
JO ANDRES & STEVE BUSCEMI LOVE STORY
Buscemi and Andres met in 1983 when they lived across each other in the East Village of New York City.
Before personally meeting Buscemi, Andres had developed a crush after seeing him on posters promoting “Steve and Mark,” a comedy duo Buscemi had with the actor Mark Boone Jr.
Coincidentally, he was also enamored with Andres after seeing her from afar. He would sometimes walk out with his dog when she was coming home from work so that they could bump into each other.
Still, Andres didn’t recognize Buscemi as the guy from the poster she had a crush on until the day he invited her to his apartment and saw him on the wall.
“I still remember when she went, ‘That’s you,’” Buscemi recalled in an interview with GQ magazine earlier this year.
“Between both of our worlds, there was always somebody doing a show or a place to go to hang out,” Buscemi recalled of their dating days. At the time, Andres was already an established artist and was more mature and experienced than Buscemi.
She helped him expand his intuition and trust his creative side more and get rid—to a certain extent—of his anxiety and nerves.
They married in 1987 and welcomed their only son, Lucas Buscemi, three years later. By then, they had moved from the East Village to a quitter life in Park Slope.
When Buscemi started booking more films that had him flying all over the country and the world, he and Andres made sure not to spent more than three weeks without seeing each other.
JO ANDRES’ DEATH
In 2015, while Buscemi was enjoying great popularity thanks to “Boardwalk Empire,” Jo Andres was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and was remission for a while.
Then, in 2017, the cancer returned. For Buscemi, seeing his wife in pain was the hardest part of the situation. As he explained:
“People who are going through that, it’s painful. It’s painful to die from cancer. There’s just no way around it.”
Andres died in January 2019 at age 64. According to what Buscemi told the NY Times, the cause was “encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis, which is characterized by intestinal blockage,” and complications from cancer.
Buscemi confessed that before Andres died, he hadn’t thought about death. “If I should happen to go not suddenly, I hope I could be as present as Jo was,” he said, adding that friends and family surrounded her in her last days, and she wasn’t afraid of dying.
After her passing, Buscemi started painting, a passion he had abandoned long ago but that he picked up again when he found old drawings while trying to organize Andres’ work.
A year after Andres’ death, Buscemi told GQ he was just starting to feel lighter. Still, he has those bad days where he doesn’t want to see anyone, although he’s grateful for having supportive family and friends.
March 24, 2020